Get Classroom Experience

Classroom experience is essential. Why? 

Most, if not all, teacher training providers will require that you have spent some structured time in a classroom with the age range you wish to teach. Check course prospectuses for experience requirements, but remember these are a minimum. Observation of teachers, lessons, and life in a school will help you decide whether you are ready to enter the profession. It can also help you decide which age-range you would like to teach. 

Tips: 

  • It is a good idea to start thinking about this early on. In order to maximise your chances when applying for teacher training, you should have gained some experience BEFORE you make your application: don't leave sorting this out until your final year. 
  • Ideally, gain experience in both primary and secondary schools. Make the most of your experience. Reflect on the teaching and learning you observe; admissions tutors for teacher training will want to know what you have learnt from your classroom experience. 

Arranging classroom experience 

You could try approaching a local school to see if you can observe teaching within some classes. You may be able to volunteer to help out on a regular basis within the classroom. Keep an eye out for volunteering opportunities in schools, for instance those advertised by Hallam Volunteering or on the do-it database. 

It is essential to arrange some classroom experience. In addition to this, valuable experience with children and/or young people can be gained in other ways, such as: 

  • volunteering in after-school clubs 
  • sports coaching 
  • helping out with Brownies/Scouts 
  • working as a lunchtime supervisor at a school 
  • volunteering with youth clubs 
  • tutoring/mentoring school-age students 

 Department for Education - School Experience Programme

The Department for Education runs programmes to help prospective teachers gain classroom experience. The School Experience programme is open to applicants who are have registered with the Get into Teaching website and are looking to apply within the current academic year, you should meet the general eligibility requirements for the age you would like to teach and have less than ten days'  school experience in an English state school in the last 12 months.

For those wishing to teach a secondary subject, priority is given to those looking to teach shortage subjects such as mathematics, sciences, foreign languages and D&T. Placements are subject to availability.

Last modified: 
Monday, September 12, 2016 - 15:04